Conference Agenda

Thursday, April 26

  • Early Registration 3 – 5
  • Social hour/networking 5 – 6
  • Film screening of the award-winning documentary film "Lioness" 6:00 – 7:30
  • Panel of the female combat veterans featured in the film 7:30 – 8:00

Friday, April 27

  • Conference registration and opening
  • Workshops (details TBA)

Saturday, April 28

  • Conference workshops  – end at 12:00pm
  • Explore the area: special discounts from Bend retailers and recreational areas

Special Panels

  • Women Veterans Program Managers serving Oregon


The Red Cross Mind Body Workshops consist of two short, one-time sessions that teach service members, veterans and their families’ simple tools to help them stay grounded and refocus during times of stress.

  • Introduction to Mind-Body Skills is perfect for those that are who are just getting started or are hesitant about trying mind-body awareness. The workshop covers breathing, mindfulness techniques, stretching and movement, body awareness and guided imagery.
  • Using Mind-Body Skills guides participants through techniques for personal and professional growth. The workshop covers drawing, journaling, meditation, body awareness and self-directed imagery.

This workshop is intended to teach Veterans and service members how to create trauma-informed creative writing communities. You will leave this session with an understanding of how traumatic stress impacts the nervous system, memory and the three main areas of the brain and how “top down” and “bottom up” treatment approaches address post-traumatic stress symptoms.   In addition you will leave with an understanding of how writing and storytelling have been used for decades to facilitate healing from traumatic events.  We will close with a brief review of some of the elements that contribute to a trauma-informed writing community.

Writing can ease physical pain, improve your emotional and mental health and help build your immune system. Scientific research repeatedly shows writing about emotional or traumatic events in your life have both immediate and long-term effects. This workshop will cover the basics along with a variety of specific techniques.  Using different techniques for different purposes can enhance and deepen the writing experience and change the writer’s life and perspective in the process. Participants will come away with the knowledge and ability to take themselves on a healing journey any time they like. The most personally effective journaling or writing involves more than just recording what happens in a day.   In this experiential workshop, we’ll dive into some practical techniques including how to by-pass our internal editor and how to access our own inner wisdom.

For most of our modern history, service in the United States military has been seen as an honorable profession; one that garners respect, admiration, and honor for the service member.  There are a number of benefits and resources available to those who served both during and after their enlistments.  However, if a veteran has a less than honorable it can endanger and sometimes completely negate these resources and even make them ashamed to admit they served.  This is especially true for one specific demographic of U.S. veterans; those lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) Americans who served their country with honor but were discharged based solely on their sexuality or gender identity. Join Nathaniel Boehme, Oregon’s LGBTQ Veterans Coordinator for a discussion about LGBTQ veterans and service members, access to benefits, and more.

During your military service did you serve at Fort McLellan, Camp Lejeune, in Vietnam, or in Iraq or Afghanistan?  Since coming home have you experienced challenges conceiving children, been diagnosed with cancer, or even had other unexplained respiratory or other health issues?  Are you interested in finding out if your service and these issues have any correlation? Then this session is for you.  Gus Bedwell is an Army veteran who has 15 plus years’ experience in helping the veteran community and training professionals to navigate VA Law and accessing deserved benefits.   During his session, you will learn the five ways to be service-connected and hear about the latest information on possible service-connected disabilities related to the afore-mentioned locations, including ideas for how to obtain service-connection for conditions that could be related to your time in the service.

We Rise: Women of Color Rising above Adversity in the US Armed Forces.  

Conference attendees will hear from four women veterans of color from diverse backgrounds representing various military branches. Each panelist will speak about their experience of being a woman of color in the US military, the adversity they faced, and how they rose above the adversity. This panel presentation will be followed by a workshop, where attendees will be able to continue the conversation.

Veterans may be eligible to receive benefits from Federal Veterans Affairs, State of Oregon and the county they reside in. Benefits for Service Members and Veterans range from Compensation, Pension, Health Care, Education, Life Insurance, and Home Loan. Dependents of Veteran could be eligible for benefits of DIC, Pension, Education and Burial. Carrie will help you navigate through all these benefits and resources that are available and how to obtain them.

In this breakout session Michael and Jeremy will discuss how Medicare, Medicaid and VA benefits work together, and some of the differences between the three.  They will also be sharing their experience with Hospice at the Oregon Veterans’ Homes.  Additionally, they will relay some options for aging veterans, specifically Assisted Living facilities, Nursing Homes, Retirement Communities, and Adult Foster Homes.  Finally, they will talk about caregiving for some of the more common needs of aging women veterans.

If I talk about it…. Won’t it just get worse?

Do you worry that if you open up about a scary memory from the military you will just be overwhelmed and feel like it’s all just happening again?  If I tell someone about what happened to me in the military won’t that just traumatize them too, what good would that do?  What happens when you walk into a Vet Center and ask to talk to someone, will they analyze me and find out what I’ve always known to be true…. Something is wrong with me.  Have you asked yourself these or other questions?  Has that kept you from seeking help.  Join me for the truth about therapy, and mental health counseling.  What are my rights?  What should I expect and would it be worth it?  We will answer all of these questions and more.

As women veterans, you are likely faced with unique work and home life challenges which make it difficult to prioritize your roles. Do you place work first? What about the needs of your partner and children? Why do you feel guilty after enjoying time to yourself?  The balance is often challenging, but it is possible to find a good rhythm.  In this session, you will actively learn how to assess your roles using a new lens, specific strategies to achieve a complementary work/life balance, and how to tackle some of the barriers you may face.

This mindful deep stretching class focuses on holding seated and floor postures to help with mobility of joints, and opening of muscles. This allows the practitioner to dive into deeper layers of connective tissue, mainly joints and fascia, while encouraging distribution of energy to flow throughout the body. Mindful deep stretching helps to increase one’s overall health and well-being of the muscles and joints. It’s the class to take if you want to develop flexibility and mental clarity.